Do Human Rights Treaties Matter: The Case for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities

Posted: 19 Nov 2018 Last revised: 12 Aug 2019

See all articles by Arlene S. Kanter

Arlene S. Kanter

Syracuse University - College of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2018

Abstract

In the United States, and throughout many other parts of the world, we are witnessing attacks on basic human rights. As wars continue to rage, the number of refugees increases, and as poverty, inequality, and suffering continues unabated in so many parts of the world, there are those who say that the entire human rights regime has failed. I do not agree. While it is true that human rights treaties have not realized their full potential in every country that has ratified them, human rights treaties do “matter.” In this article I make the case for human rights treaties by referring to the success of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), which was adopted by the UN in 2006 and has been ratified by 177 countries. The CRPD has not ended all discrimination, mistreatment, and exclusion of people with disabilities, but it has spurred the development of new laws, policies, and practices which are transforming societies and offering new protections and opportunities for people with and without disabilities. The CRPD is also creating new norms within the international human rights system, itself. Based on the impact of the CRPD to date, I conclude that the human rights treaty regime has not only not failed but is, in fact, thriving.

Keywords: disability, human rights, treaties, international human rights, convention on the rights of people with disabilities

JEL Classification: 100,114,119, 124, K33, Z18

Suggested Citation

Kanter, Arlene S., Do Human Rights Treaties Matter: The Case for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities (October 1, 2018). 52 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 577 (2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3274280

Arlene S. Kanter (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - College of Law ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States

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